DB - general

1earth permaculture permaculture1 at start.com.au
Sat Dec 22 03:17:35 EST 2001

> Also, many folk bypass the entry page by bookmarking pages...

Rich writes >I think the problem here is search engines. They tend to
pick up the individual database pages rather that the front page.

Rich, I've included a robots.txt file in the root directory which
directs the search engines away from the /pfaf folder - the direct
hits are definitely coming from bookmarks and other websites links
(the stats section of the ISP can trace them)

> Suggestions to help it become user friendly: think global... The
user location box is a good way for the user to filter relevant data.

>what are the things you want to search for? A little bit of visual
design could also go down very well.

The main point of the LOCATOR suggestion is for northern and southern
hemispheres to be considered. It is a pain to read "Plant peas in
January" (eg) and not knowing the hemisphere of the planting guide or
even the climate zone.
A location search criteria would help to some extent (it is only one
POSSIBLE search criteria) as people may not know if they need to
search for TEMPERATE, SUB-TROPICAL (or whatever), but they probably
know the location. Georg, if you're searching for West Africa for
example, use the locator Sierra Leone (or whatever) to reveal relevant
plants for that area.
The location is not the only search criteria available obviously, as
users may also be asking for Cabinet Timber, Fire Retardant Timber,
Latin/common or genus name, Herbs, or whatever. If a location or
climate zone is specified first, it filters the relevant data giving a
better result.
Another consideration for the Location, is that if it is too broad (eg
by country) it may not show the correct climate zone of the specific
location in question - "Afghanistan" for example might have two or
three climate zones.
If the DB is to be permaculture specific, perhaps a "ZONE" search
criteria might be useful, revealing plants which are useful around the
house, etc.

Could a use such as "forage" or "green compost" or "containers/tubs"
or "medicinal" search reveal specific plants?

Perhaps a user interface might ask a series of questions such as:
location, climate zone, use, permaculture zone, name (latin/common),
etc, with as many boxes being ticked as the user can - the DB would
use these to filter the data.

Might I note that "design by committee" is fraught with danger. Whilst
in the "calling for ideas" stage, it is great to read everyone's
input, but some project management will have to be implemented sooner
or later, with roles and tasks given to individuals or organisations.

Merry Christmas all,

Marcus Webb

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